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Galveston Fire Department first responder tests positive for COVID-19

They are waiting on test results from 26 other crew members. Galveston County reported 13 new cases Thursday.

GALVESTON, Texas — A person in the Galveston Fire Department has tested positive for COVID-19.

As a precaution, they have tested 26 crew members and expect results Friday. The employees who have been tested are at home while results are pending.

"The testing of these individuals has not impacted the department’s ability to be fully operational," GFD said in a statement.

They say the department has disinfected and professionally cleaned the station and all equipment. 

"The Fire Department is taking precautionary measures above and beyond the CDC guidelines to protect the safety of our first responders and the public," GFD said.

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All fire stations are open and operational, and the City continues to make every effort to protect the health and safety of its personnel and their families.

Galveston County Health District  announced 13 additional positive COVID-19 cases in Galveston County. This brings the county’s case total to 40.

“This marks the largest number of positive COVID-19 cases we’ve reported for Galveston County in one day,” said Galveston County Local Health Authority Dr. Philip Keiser. “We are doing more tests in the county and discovering more cases.”

Galveston County issued a stay at home order earlier this week.

“We cannot stress enough that you need to stay home. Now is not the time to be having social get togethers, to have play dates, to go shopping. If it is not essential for you to leave your home, please do not,” Keiser. “We know that social distancing works, but we need you to do your part to help us slow down the spread of this virus.”

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Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.